Turkey and the European Union

by Henry on June 28, 2004

Jacques Chirac “lambasted”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3848045.stm George W. Bush today for suggesting that Turkey should become a member of the European Union. It’s no secret that the French government would prefer, all things considered, that Turkey not become a member of the European Union, or that a fair swathe of political opinion in other powerful EU member states (such as Germany) is at best luke-warm towards the prospect. Nonetheless, if I were a betting man, I’d lay strong odds on Turkey getting the official nod as a candidate for EU membership before Christmas, and becoming a full member seven or eight years after that.

In theory, any one member state can block Turkey’s membership – new entrants to the EU require unanimous consent from all existing members. In practice, even member states that are hostile to Turkey’s candidacy, such as France, have enormous difficulty in articulating their hostility in public. And for good reason – their objections to Turkey are rooted in some pretty offensive notions about what ‘Europe’ should be (Christian, white). Whenever anyone tries to voice these opinions, they’re liable to get “blasted from all sides”:http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml?aid=8324. The result is that the opponents of Turkey’s candidacy find it difficult to justify their stance in public – therefore, they’re liable to find themselves being herded into giving their tacit assent to a decision that they would ideally prefer to oppose.

It’s an interesting case-study for international relations theory. As Frank Schimmelfennig observed in his case study of the EU’s earlier enlargement into Central and Eastern Europe, this sort of phenomenon demonstrates the limits of realist theory. Powerful states such as France may find it difficult, or even impossible, to act upon their preferences if they can’t justify their actions with reference to prevailing community norms. It could also have quite profound consequences for international politics. The prospect of EU membership has already demonstrably pushed Turkey into greater respect for civil rights, and a weakened political role for the military. Expect this to continue, and indeed accelerate if Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, just as it did in Spain, Portugal and Greece. And as “John Quiggin”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001356.html said a few months back, a prosperous, stable, fully democratic Turkey within the EU could do wonders for the prospects of democracy in other countries in the same region.

{ 56 comments }

1

otto 06.28.04 at 11:32 pm

According to your link, Giscard got a telling-off from Pat Cox and a few Turkish MPs. This is hardly being blasted from all sides, and I think VGdE can take it. Indeed, if Chirac can face down the US in the security council, he certainly has the potential to take the flack over Turkey. Someone who got 19% in the first round of the last presidential elections with Le Pen snapping at his heals would need to think twice about admitting the Turks to the EU.

On a separate point, it’s not at all true that the only objection to admitting Turkey are offensive notions about what “Europe” should be. Turkey would be the largest state (soon), absolutely broke and continually demanding money, and has completely different preferences on many issues, not least CFSP issues, where some (like the French) are hoping for more in the way of “political union”.

2

drapeto 06.28.04 at 11:40 pm

And as John Quiggin said a few months back, a prosperous, stable, fully democratic Turkey within the EU could do wonders for the prospects of democracy in other countries in the same region

why? because they’re muslims too? i’m curious to hear from west asianists (or west asians) on views towards turkey as an object of emulation. after all, ataturk-style secularism hasn’t proved all that influential.

And for good reason – their objections to Turkey are rooted in some pretty offensive notions about what ‘Europe’ should be (Christian, white).

what *should* “europe” be about? just curious.

3

Chris 06.29.04 at 12:20 am

Isn’t it more “non-Muslim, white” than “Christian, white”?

4

Luc 06.29.04 at 1:02 am

It is funny how you link France to racism and religious bigotry. I don’t see how this helps a serious discussion.

If we are not serious anyway, I can stuff you into the UK as a US lapdog category, also known as “anything to win the war on terra”.

To quote the Guardian from a while ago:

With President Bush – backed by Tony Blair – eager to keep Turkey onside as a key player in its Iraqi strategy, Downing Street hoped a date in 2004 could have been agreed at last night’s opening dinner.

But they did not, the decision was postponed to december 2004. And Turkey was not entirely cooperative in the war on Iraq.
Failed power politics, or a plain silly US/UK strategy? And how to interpret the current US/UK stance, what do they want of Turkey this time?

5

Tom 06.29.04 at 1:21 am

Give me a break. France has a very principled reason for balking on Turkey: they still refuse to acknowledge that what happened to the Armenians in 1915 was genocide. What they’ve done more recently to the Kurds isn’t much better.

6

q 06.29.04 at 1:40 am

…is the US proposal to collapse the EU under it’s own weight?
Technical term is “shit-stirring”.

7

Two Dishes 06.29.04 at 1:47 am

Your optimism for Turkey’s admittance to the EU anytime in the next five years, let alone five months is breathtaking.

Also, in last week’s Europe-wide elections there was a resounding Eurosceptic tone to the results, everywhere but Denmark and Belgium. What does the rise of Euroscepticism mean for new countries wishing to join?

8

Jeffrey Bogdan 06.29.04 at 1:55 am

Yes, Henry, give Tom a break, and me, too. If you and Chirac can’t think of a good reason to exclude Turkey from the European Community, pass this link on to him:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/turkey/women.html

And this one:

http://www.phrusa.org/research/torture/tortur.html

And this one is only 1 year old:
http://www.fidh.org/europ/rapport/2003/tr361a.pdf (Also available in html in the Google cache.)

9

P O'Neill 06.29.04 at 3:22 am

Another way to cut the question of Turkish admission is whether the EU policy will continue to be driven by choices of the Euro elites versus having a more populist element. Many of the choices that EU has made in the past are easier to interpret in terms of the people at the top feeling it was the “right thing” to do rather than something that their general publics actually wanted (e.g. the eurozone). But now the many referenda coming on the constitution and the pathetic turnouts in the euro elections will create a need to reflect popular preferences more in EU policy. And I don’t see a big groundswell to admit Turkey amongst EU citizens. In that sense, Chirac actually better reflects the man on the Roissy omnibus better than the likes of Pat Cox.

10

Daniel Geffen 06.29.04 at 4:06 am

An oddity of European reactions to US pressure to admit Turkey to the EU is the fixation on the notion that this is equivalent to lecturing the US on its relationship with Mexico, and that both actions are somehow rude. The even sillier thing is that European leaders (including Chirac) are more than willing to lecture other countries on their relationship with the US. I’ve documented a bit of this here, but somebody with more time could probably do a better job.

11

John 06.29.04 at 5:27 am

Does the Greek government need a good reason to veto Turkish candidacy? What about the Cypriots?

12

Lady C 06.29.04 at 5:30 am

Just curious, what’s fundamentally changed since the EU (France & Germany in the lead) diddled Turkey so badly in the 80’s re membership? Same “white Christian” sub-text was there, and assimilation is an even bigger issue now than then as the LePen numbers highlight. Agree as well with p o’neill’s points about the “populist” angle becoming more important, and where does the Turkey question have an important impact on domestic politics? Which EU states are really FOR Turkey’s ascension enough to “herd” Chirac et al into giving “tacit assent”? Somebody would have to go to the mat in the back rooms for that to happen — and give up or threaten something pretty important in return. Any serious candidates?

13

Andrew Boucher 06.29.04 at 6:30 am

Unless the EU has aspirations to replace the United Nations, it would seem it has to stop somewhere. If Turkey gets in, then so does Morocco, then Algeria, then Israel … And what about Russia? And if Russia, why not China? Eventually the EU becomes the Eurasia-Africa superstate. That may seem like utopia to some, but it seems more like an unworkable nation-state, when the EU, with its present boundaries, is already struggling to make decisions. Somewhere, unless one is lost in the Sorite Paradox, one has to draw the line; that this is historical Europe (in which neither Russia nor Turkey were completely a part), makes some sense, doesn’t it? The EU is supposed to be the European Union, isn’t it?

14

mc 06.29.04 at 6:57 am

I think you’re missing two elements here – the level of human rights and democracy in Turkey is far from matching requirements for EU membership, and France and any other nation has a right to be irritated at the constant pressures from the US. The US have military and financial interests in Turkey and they’ve been acting as their brokers in this all along. Oilpipes and troops and airspace in exchange for funds and support for EU membership. Remember the whole period leading to war in Iraq? that’s when the pressures intensified. Now, in addition to the military and financial interests, the US has also an interest in showing the world how Bush’s policies can work, democracy in an Islamic country, the model for Iraq, blah blah blah. Since Afghanistan is not really ideal for boasting about success, they realised they could trumpet on about Turkey as if it was their achievement – and if they do manage to pressure the EU into accepting Turkey in quick and by turning a blind eye to the things that are not quite up to scratch for membership, they will boast it as their own achievement. The PNAC at work. See, see how enlightened the whole project is.

So, it is _primarily_ a matter of heavy US interference into European affairs. It’s bound to piss the French off. And rightly so. The issue should be discussed entirely within the EU, when there’s indeed other countries supporting a gradual entry of Turkey (and coincidence, they’re the US allies…).

Also, the reduced role for the military is not in itself a guarantee of improvements. Since they’re the ones who’ve been keeping the secular nature of the state safe from fundamnetalism, it could be a double-edged sword to reduce their influence – even if it is necessary for democracy, that the army should not have so much power as it used to have in Turkey all these years… It’s a bit of a catch-22, but you can’t ignore the other problem. Fundamentalists have been getting more strength lately. Human rights organisations are just as concerned with that as with the military power.

So I think you’re not doing justice to all the issues involved if you reduce the French position to a question of racism. I don’t really see how it has much to do with a Europe=Christian-white idea really. Chirac is not Le Pen. France is hardly Christian and, for a large part, not so white either. There really doesn’t seem to be space for that kind of prejudice in the political reservations about Turkey in the EU, at least not at top level. There’s a whole lot of other heavier problems involved.

15

mc 06.29.04 at 7:08 am

In other words, Turkey in the EU right now means a far heavier influence of the US in the EU.

That is the main thing Chirac is obviously concerned about.

The other thing is the level of secularisation of Turkey, and how that precarious balance is already being threatened by the increase of fundamentalism at the same time the secular power of the military is reduced. That’s related to the value France puts on laicity, not on Christianity. It’s Bush who’s the WASP Christian warrior here, not Chirac. It’s Bush who wants to be seen as democratiser of the Islamic world. And it’s US companies who have all those contracts, and interests in access to the Caspian sea area…

That’s what’s going on, and it’s a bit naive to overlook it.

16

Brautigan 06.29.04 at 7:52 am

Well, I think the fact that Turkey is on a different continent might count for something.

Just sayin . . .

17

John Smith 06.29.04 at 7:56 am

You can’t say it too many times: Turkey isn’t in Europe.

Except for Eastern Thrace. And on that basis, France could apply for membership of the Organization of American States on the strength of Guyane.

At least in Morocco, the political class speaks a European language. But that doesn’t make the country European.

18

Elliott Oti 06.29.04 at 8:48 am

I don’t want to dismiss cultural differences out of hand, but present-day Turkey *is* reasonably European. The fact that Turkey historically belongs in Asia Minor is largely irrelevant. For most practical purposes Turkey is already European. In every sport, from athletics to fooball, where an European Championship exists, Turkey takes part. Turkey participates in the European Song festival. And so on.

The Turkish diaspora in West Europe is extensive, possibly the most extensive of any non-EU country. Paradoxically, the majority of this diaspora (in the Netherlands, at least, but I suspect also in the rest of West Europe) comes from the relatively poor and non-European regions of Anatolia and Turkish Kurdistan, not from wealthier, more cosmopolitan Istanbul. This has IMO a double-edged effect. The contrast in culture between Anatolian emigrants and the native European population leads to friction between the two groups. At the same time I suspect that this diaspora is also causing a slow trickle-down liberalising influence on the populations of Anatolia and Kurdistan.

Without meaning to bagatellize Turkey’s often appalling human rights record (by modern European standards) and the very real structural and institutional problems that must be overcome, the fact is that in a cultural sense West Europe and Turkey are on a convergence course, and comparisons with other Middle Eastern and North African countries are unfair and (IMO) incorrect.

I think it is necessary that the EU insist on continuing the reform and liberalisation process. On the other hand, in practical terms Turkey is already in Europe and is becoming increasingly more integrated, and it would be most unfair to deny them EU membership a priori, on the basis of supposed fundamental incompatibilities.

19

Andrew Boucher 06.29.04 at 9:18 am

“For most practical purposes Turkey is already European. In every sport, from athletics to fooball, where an European Championship exists, Turkey takes part. Turkey participates in the European Song festival. And so on.”

Except for the unspecified “and so on”, the “practical purposes” you list comprise athletics and a song contest. Culture, history, political outlook, human-rights fall into the void. What is the glue of a nation-state?

20

Doug 06.29.04 at 10:12 am

So, any of the antis want to explain why it is a smart geopolitical choice to tell Turkey to get lost?

21

Danny 06.29.04 at 10:18 am

Turkey has a population of 68M people, the second highest in the EU after Germany (82M). What’s more, its population growth rate is much higher than any other country in Europe (1.16%). Compare this to France (0.42%), Germany (0.04%), or the new entries to the EU, Poland (0%) or Hungary (-0.29%). It will probably be the largest country in Europe in terms of population before too long, and hence, if democracy were to mean anything, the strongest in terms of its political clout. Europe ought to think long and hard whether it wants to do share its sovereignty with Turkey, considering that Turkey will be a leading nation within it, and would have an effect on the lives of all Europeans.

22

KJ 06.29.04 at 10:20 am

Turkey is definitely NOT European in any meaningful sense – neither culturally nor socially, neither economically nor geographically is or was she ever part of Europe, and very likely will never be.

That said, why can’t Turkey simply be part of an Eurasean free trade area, associated by treaty?

23

TomD 06.29.04 at 10:36 am

Arguments about the ‘Turkish diaspora’ (read guest-workers and immigrants) are fairly silly. There is a pretty large Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and West Indian ‘diaspora’ in the UK, but this is no reason for closer economic and political union. Ditto Algerians in France.

However, it might well be an argument in favour of free trade and free movement of labour and capital, something which Germany for one has been rather reluctant to grant its Turkish population.

But these could be achieved without the EU.

On the bright side, Turkey’s joining would mean the inevitable collapse of the agricultural subsidy system, which might have knock-on effects: the US would no longer be able to argue that Europe was a worse offender.

24

mc 06.29.04 at 11:29 am

elliott oli – “In every sport, from athletics to fooball, where an European Championship exists, Turkey takes part. Turkey participates in the European Song festival.”

And they won it, too. So…? It’s an interesting fact, but with no relevance to the political and cultural issues of EU entry.

Besides, Israel has also been taking part in the Eurovision contest. (And indeed there’s also advocates of its entry in the EU. Doesn’t seem to be as much interest for that proposition as for Turkey, I wonder why?)

Interestingly enough, though, Turkey wasn’t taking part in Euro2004. (And too bad, because they’re usually rather good). Or in any previous Euro tournaments.

They’re part of UEFA, though. Just like Israel, again.

Not that I find this of any relevance whatsoever, but since you mentioned…

25

Doug Muir 06.29.04 at 11:50 am

Putting the diaspora aside, Turkey-in-Europe has a land area of about 25,000 sq km and a population of nearly 12 million people.

Malta is closer to Africa than to Europe. Cyprus is geographically part of the Middle East — look at a map, for goodness’ sake. On a clear day in the mountains there, you can see Syria.

Glancing at a population map of Turkey, it look like about 80% of Turks are already closer to Europe than EU member Cyprus.

There are strong arguments against admitting Turkey, but geography isn’t one of them.

Doug M.

26

Elliott Oti 06.29.04 at 12:15 pm

MC:
*”Interestingly enough, though, Turkey wasn’t taking part in Euro2004.”*

They did take part, but were elimnated in the qualifications.

*”And indeed there’s also advocates of its entry in the EU. Doesn’t seem to be as much interest for that proposition as for Turkey, I wonder why?”*

Because of the Palestinian question. Without wishing to start yet another lengthy fruitless discussion on the Israel-Palestine problem, I personally think that in an alternate reality where the problem had never existed Israel would be a “member” (actual, prospective, or in a relationship like the Swiss, you name it) of the EU today.

Israel is a member of UEFA etc. for reasons pertaining security issues arising out of having to compete in Arab countries as part of the Middle-East.

Turkey has no such problems.

Andrew Boucher:
*”Culture, history, political outlook, human-rights fall into the void. What is the glue of a nation-state? “*

I don’t know. I don’t regard it as a black-white question. I see some similarities between present day Turkey, and Greece, Spain and Portugal thirty years ago. I will also note that culture, political outlook and human rights may now be the most important determinants of inclusion into an European Union, but they never were to begin with: the European Union has its origins in a reformative movement among old belligerents, not a union of saints. The original Coal and Steel union was formed a mere six years after the fall of the Third Reich, which has a history of actions more monstrous than anything the Turks ever did, yet it did not hinder Germany’s inclusion as one of the original members. And France was deeply involved in Algeria at the time. While I acknowledge that times have changed, and perceptions with them, and while I also acknowledge that Turkey *must* carry out necessary reforms, I am unmoved by appeals to the special character of the West European nations comprising the EU: that special character has been notably absent for a great deal of the 20th century, in which the founding members were more than happy to slaughter each other in very large numbers. If they could put aside their diferences and form the Union, they can certainly get over their differences with Turkey.

tomd:
*”Arguments about the ‘Turkish diaspora’ (read guest-workers and immigrants) are fairly silly. There is a pretty large Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and West Indian ‘diaspora’ in the UK, but this is no reason for closer economic and political union. Ditto Algerians in France.”*

I’m sorry, but as an immigrant myself I wish for closer co-operation between “my” (non-Turkish) diaspora, my old homeland, and my new homeland. This wish will be reflected in my actions, my words, and most importantly, my vote. In the 14 years that I have lived in the Netherlands I have seen the Turkish and North African immigrant bloc develop from being complete non-entities, to communities with increasing economic, social, and the last four years, political influence.

Issues that a decade ago never appeared on the radar (islamic schools, head scarves, mosques, political associations like the Arab-European League) are entering the domain of public European discourse. And the demographic reality of native West European populations versus immigrants means that this is only going to increase.
40% of the Netherlands’ 4 largest cities already consists of first or second generation immigrants. Like it or not, this trend is not going to reverse in the near future. Like it or not, the EU is going to become more like Turkey even as Turkey becomes more like the EU. A growing number of EU citizens – including myself – do not see Turkey as “them”. We see them as “us”.

This is what I mean by convergence, and I think it behooves us to face the issue squarely and – above all – fairly. Ducking it, or framing it in an us-versus-them manner, will be counterproductive in the long run.

27

reuben 06.29.04 at 12:19 pm

MC –

A minor point, but just like Scotland, Wales, and many other nations, Turkey did take part in Euro 2004. It was knocked out in the qualifying stages – by little Latvia.

28

des von bladet 06.29.04 at 12:42 pm

Incidentally, if George Bush told me to tidy my bedroom I would also tell him – in terms that would by no means lack certainty – where he could stick his advice.

It does not follow that the tidiness of my bedroom is irreproachable, nor would I claim any such thing.

Re: the EU, Albania is 70% Muslim, and has been earmarked as “potential candidate”, as has Bosnia (not as Muslim as it used to be what with one thing and another), which surely wouldn’t be that far behind Croatia (ETA 2007) in the queue.

Maybe the Turks should reinvent Ataturk as a communist dictator – the attitude to the rest of the Balkans shows that genocide and Islam aren’t a priori barriers to EU candidacy if you’ve had the commies in.

29

bryan 06.29.04 at 12:45 pm

“And as John Quiggin said a few months back, a prosperous, stable, fully democratic Turkey within the EU could do wonders for the prospects of democracy in other countries in the same region”

I can see it now, in twenty years the whole region will be democratic! And then the wingnuts will write articles about how Bush had the wisdom to see what no one else could in attacking Iraq.

30

des von bladet 06.29.04 at 1:03 pm

Hold on just a minute! Before Chirac got to giving Bush a dose of the what for, he had some somthings to say specifically
about Turkey
:

Profitant de la tenue de la conférence à Istanbul, le président de la République a revêtu son habit d’avocat de l’entrée de la Turquie dans l’Union européenne (UE). Pour lui, le mouvement conduisant à l’adhésion d’Ankara est non seulement «souhaitable» mais aussi «irréversible».

The President of the Republic [of France] took the opportunity offered by the conference in Istanbul to rehearse his role of advocate of Turkey’s entry into the EU. For him the development leading to Ankhara’s entry is not just ‘desirable’ but ‘inevitable’.

That’s a FIO Engleeshing – Figaro is hard! – but it seems clear enough to me that Chirac’s anger with Bush was genuinely about Bush’s impertinence, and quite right too.

If the FDRUSA genuinely wants to see Turkey in the EU (as I do) then having Idiot-Boy publicly lean on France is a bloody stupid way of showing it.

31

Emmanuel 06.29.04 at 1:54 pm

France has a very principled reason for balking on Turkey: they still refuse to acknowledge that what happened to the Armenians in 1915 was genocide.

Well, no. Three years ago, the French Parliament passed a law which stated the following : “France publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915.”

And your whole point seems strange to me : recognizing the genocide was precisely the best way to worsen the French relationship with Turkey, thereby impeding its entry into the EU.

32

Ray 06.29.04 at 2:04 pm

‘they’ in that quote appears to refer to Turkey, not France.

33

Tom T. 06.29.04 at 2:10 pm

I can’t comment on the strength of Turkey’s current ties to Europe, but it seems to me to be a bit of a stretch to say that Turkey has not “historically” been part of Europe. After all, the Ottoman Turks ruled Greece and various parts of the Balkans for hundreds of years. The Ottoman Empire was famously called “the Sick Man of Europe,” and not the Sick Man of Near-East Asia.

34

Barry 06.29.04 at 2:20 pm

“I can see it now, in twenty years the whole region will be democratic! And then the wingnuts will write articles about how Bush had the wisdom to see what no one else could in attacking Iraq.”

Posted by bryan · June 29, 2004

Argh! That’s what I was going to say!

I’ll just add that the wingnuts will say that, no matter how bad things get in Iraq.

35

Richard Bellamy 06.29.04 at 2:58 pm

It seems to me that reason and argumentation don’t have much room in this discussion. What if the Dominican Republic petitioned the U.S. to become the 51st state because their baseball players were having problems getting visas?

We could debate the economic disparities. we could discuss whether they are closer to Florida than Hawaii is to California. We could discuss the “precedent” if Cuba and Haiti wanted to become states 52 and 53. We could discuss the effects on the Congress if the residents all voted Democratic or Republican. We can argue whether the Carribean is really “America.”

But the point will end up being “Do we want them or not.” Will the U.S. be a stronger country with them or without them. No country is required to accept outsiders into the club, and I don’t see why the E.U. should be any different. If they had voted to exclude Portugal because they objected to the weird vowel combinations, that’s their right to do, and logic about the borders of “Europe” are just as irreleveant.

Put another way, why is the burden on the opponents to come up with a good reason to exclude? If Turkey wants in, have them make the case that everyone will be better off with them in.

36

Emmanuel 06.29.04 at 2:59 pm

Ray : yes, it would make a lot more sense this way. My mistake.

37

des von bladet 06.29.04 at 4:04 pm

Richard Bellamy: Are you an American? Are you, specifically, an American arguing that it is the EU and the EU alone which should determine the criteria on which Turkey’s application to join the EU should be assessed? Do you then procede to outline the criteria it should use?

Do you know what a “performative self-contradiction” is?

38

Emmanuel 06.29.04 at 4:39 pm

Nonetheless, I don’t think that the specific question of the Armenian genocide has much of a bearing on the official position of French authorities (remember that Chirac is moderately pro-entry, whereas his own party is dead against) and on the attitude of the French public.

What seems to me of much greater importance are:

1. The idea that 80 million Muslims cannot be part of a political community that should remain, well, “européenne”, whatever that is supposed to mean. That view is very common among conservatives: as noted above, one of the main plank of the UMP program for the recent European elections was a clear no to the entry of Turkey. Ditto for UDF, the moderate, pro-European, Christian democratic junior coalition party. The Front National is of course up in arms against the idea.
On this point, I think that Henry is quite right : a lot (though not all) of conservatives use coded phrasing and contrived arguments when in fact their opposition is motivated by racial/religious reasons. Case in point : a recent op-ed by noted conservative “intellectuel” Alain Gérard Slama in Le Figaro claiming that joining the EU would make Turkey worse off (even in economic terms).

2. The not-unsupported belief that each round of EU enlargement weakens the political influence of France within European institutions. In this regard, the entry of Turkey would be catastrophic since it is a very large country with a long tradition of close ties to the United States. That analysis appeals to Gaullist and socialists minds alike, even if their visions of a Europe led by France are quite different.

3. The feeling that opening the door to Turkey will mean the downgrading of the EU to a mere free trade zone and the shipping of a large swath of French industrial jobs abroad. That position is pretty widespread, though more likely to be the first concern among liberals.

All in all, Turkey membership is still opposed by a majority of the French public, conservatives being more hostile than liberals, and old people more than young.

39

Richard Bellamy 06.29.04 at 6:27 pm

Do you know what a “performative self-contradiction” is?

Me: The Europeans should do what they want, and that means including or excluding whomever they want.

You: Why should the Europeans do what they want, just because an American told them to? They should be free to either do what they want or not do what they want!

I, um, stand corrected.

40

des von bladet 06.29.04 at 6:40 pm

You: If Turkey wants in, have them make the case that everyone will be better off with them in.

Me: This is how you leave decisions to others? I’d hate to see your advocacy.

The case might be made other than primarily by Turkey, isn’t it? Or the EU might decide that it is the ineluctable Hegelian will of the dialectic that it should be thus and not otherwise, even if we all get “worse off” by one or more metrics. (I favour this approach, personally. Europe! The Historical Dialectic wills that Turkey should join!)

41

Richard Bellamy 06.29.04 at 7:10 pm

The Historical Dialectic wills that Turkey should join!

So you actually DID mean they should be free to either do what they want or not do what they want.

Pity, please, the simple minded limiters who think that the EU should only do things if the EU wants to do it.

42

Brautigan 06.29.04 at 8:20 pm

Turkish prisons.

43

Sephiroth 06.30.04 at 1:10 am

Yhe commenter who noted that Turkey does not have a Palestine-like situation seems to be unaware of Cyprus, where Turkey illegally occupies 39 percent of the island.

The only difference between Cyprus and Palestine is that Turkey ethnically cleansed each and every Greek in its sector of Cyprus whereas Israel did not purge the Arabs. Israel is absolutely vicious but it is at least not genocidal as Turkey is.

44

Doug Muir 06.30.04 at 6:23 am

Cyprus, where Turkey illegally occupies 39 percent of the island.

I note in passing that the UN peace plan for the reunification of Cyprus approved by the Turkish Parliament and accepted by 67% of Turkish Cypriot voters.

It was, of course, rejected by 75% of Greek Cypriot voters.

Israel is absolutely vicious but it is at least not genocidal as Turkey is.

Total casualties in the 1974 occupation — and since — don’t amount to a bad month in Palestine.

The Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus is unquestionably illegal. But it’s also saved thousands of lives by keeping the two ethnic groups from each other’s throats. And the Turks have made at least one good-faith effort to bring the partition to an end.

Doug M.

45

mc 06.30.04 at 9:46 am

Thanks elliott and reuben for setting me straight on the Euro2004 and Turkey not making it past qualifications. I assumed they just weren’t among the teams that could participate. I don’t follow football closely and got confused with all the other tournaments at European level :)

I just checked and Israel also was among the teams but didn’t qualify either. Oh well. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a Turkey vs. Israel match?

And on Israel, elliott, what you say about the conflict with Palestinians being the main reason why there’s not as much pressure for Israel joining the EU is only part of the picture. It also seems there’s not much interest for EU entry within Israel so far. But most of all, I think even most people who support the notion of Turkey being European wouldn’t really apply the same reasoning to Israel. Because they’d see Israel as Middle East, not Europe. So there is a dividing line they apply too, somewhere.

But there’s an interesting aspect here, in that both Turkey and Israel are not so much part of “Europe” in geographical and historical terms, but they are indeed part of the Mediterranean area, which has its own economic and cooperation agreements both within or independently of the EU, as well as some common culture and history. But it’s still split in two different continents, Africa and Europe, so I doubt anyone would consider including it all in the EU.

In the end it does boil down to culture and history, as well as geography. There are also advocates of Russia joining the EU, but that would be stretching the EU as far as India… it would become a bit crazy.

I honestly don’t know, but I think even aside from the cultural-geographic-historic notions of Europe, you can’t avoid the fact that Turkey doesn’t have a level of democracy and human rights that’s compatible, yet.

Most of the pro-arguments seem to rely less on the cultural aspect and more on the “encouragement for democracy” aspect. I don’t have strong cultural objections to Turkey being part of Europe, in a way it is – but I just can’t subscribe to that idea that pushing EU entry will accelerate the improvement in those areas. It has to be the other way round. First reach that level, then discuss entry. To go back to football (with a really poor comparison), you can’t promote a team to Champions League in the hope that’ll push them to become champions when they’re not technically qualified for that league. That’s reversing the process. It shouldn’t be done like that only because there’s strong financial and partisan interests. Especially if it’s interests and interferences outside the EU.

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Thomas Dent 06.30.04 at 10:15 am

I don’t relish my words being misrepresented by elliot oti.

Did I “frame the issue in an us-versus-them way”? I don’t think so. Did I write against closer cooperation on certain issues between, say, Germany and Turkey? No.

All this is missing the point. The EU is *not the only way* to achieve cooperation between countries. It is a particular way which involves a certain degree of economic and political unification and a lot of subsidies and regulations.

So, please observe the distinction between the two questions:

1. Should countries with substantial Turkish populations cooperate bi- or multilaterally with Turkey in such areas as free trade and movement of capital and labour?

2. Should Turkey be a member state of the EU, ruled over by EU courts, with seats in the European Parliament and subject to EU regulations?

*These are two different questions.*

My answer to the first is, why not. There are lots of organizations – the Commonwealth, Schengen, NATO, etc. etc. which promote cooperation without the baggage of economic and political union.

My answer to the second is, Not yet, and not soon, unless Turkey really meets EU requirements on such things as human rights and the rule of law. And probably not until the EU’s agricultural and other subsidy programmes, and regulations on such things as hygiene and working conditions, are considerably reformed (which would be a benefit to all countries). Never mind Turkey, nearly every building site and every butcher in Greece is in breach of EU regulations.

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bryan 06.30.04 at 10:29 am

You know also, any recommendation by George Bush is likely to get a very warm reception in Europe. Turkey will be admitted in 2050.

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Doug 06.30.04 at 4:06 pm

My question to the antis still stands, “Why is telling Turkey to get lost a smart geopolitical decision?”

The European leaders making the choice in question are, I presume, the wise, worldly, sophisticated heirs to hundreds of years of diplomatic experience who manage their foreign affairs with such aplomb that they can confidently instruct the Americans (who are not wise, worldly, etcetc) on the arts of statecraft. As such, they can hardly fail to take their long-term interests into account and give Turkey candidate status this December, no matter what anyone from Pennsylvania Avenue has to say.

With due respect to some commenters above, the Turkish government is already promising to abide by decisions of the ECJ in Strasbourg. See here for instance. Second, mc, pushing EU entry had exactly the kinds of effects you describe in Central and Eastern Europe. The road to EU entry has transformed those societies, from the levels of high politics down to the quotidian details. The drive to candidate status has been the biggest impetus behind the reforms of the AK government in Turkey, and this dynamic will continue.

Turkey’s citizens did not vote in the most recent election to the European Parliament, nor will they vote in the next one. But they will in the one after that. You read it here first.

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Jonathan Edelstein 06.30.04 at 4:53 pm

You can’t say it too many times: Turkey isn’t in Europe

What is “Europe?” Is it a geographic term? Political? Cultural? Economic? Historical?

It’s already been pointed out that Turkey qualifies as European even in a pure geographic sense. Its political integration extends well beyond football tournaments and song contests; among other things, it accepts compulsory ECHR jurisdiction, has been a full member of the Council of Europe since 1949 and, like Israel, is signatory to a number of pan-European treaties. Historically, Turkey was part of the Hellenistic and Roman spheres, and later of the Byzantine successor state. Economically, the EU is Turkey’s largest trading partner, with the United States not even close, and Turkey is about tenth on the list of EU trading partners. Whether or not Turkey is “culturally” European is an inherently subjective question, but it’s a modern secular nation-state with considerable European influence on its institutions.

Turkey will be part of the EU within another decade. Israel, Morocco and Tunisia will be part of it within two.

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mc 06.30.04 at 5:57 pm

Jonathan: then why not also Algeria, and Lybia, and Egypt? What do Morocco and Tunisia have that’s more European?

Come to think of it, since the UK is in the EU, why don’t we enlarge to the whole of the Commonwealth and former colonies, including Iraq. How about that. It’d sure be nice to have more teams play the UEFA, it’d make it less boring…

Seriously. Maybe we don’t know what Europe is and where it starts, but where does it stop?

– doug: that’s not to say Central and Eastern Europe were in the same situation as Turkey to start with.

I don’t see the specifically Turkish issues addressed. The pro side never bothers with the issue of Kurds, human rights, fundamentalists, political situation, etc. as if they were small things that can be set aside, or improved with a rush to meet requirements as if it was just a matter of conforming economic regulations and industry standards and directives on telecommunications and whatnot.

Also, promises are just that, they’re worth nothing – you don’t do a massive move like this based on promises.

You should also try and reverse your question – why is it a smart geopolitical move to have Turkey in? Smart for who? And is the EU all about geopolitical strategies? Isn’t that NATO?

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Jonathan Edelstein 06.30.04 at 7:43 pm

Jonathan: then why not also Algeria, and Lybia, and Egypt? What do Morocco and Tunisia have that’s more European?

I picked Israel, Morocco and Tunisia (and forgot to mention Lebanon) because they are (1) more integrated into European political and economic institutions, (2) more prosperous and (3) more Western in outlook than the other countries in the region. Libya, Algeria and Egypt may be long-term possibilities, but they have a lot of issues to work through first (not that the four countries I named don’t have issues, but they aren’t any worse prospects than Georgia or Serbia).

Come to think of it, since the UK is in the EU, why don’t we enlarge to the whole of the Commonwealth and former colonies, including Iraq. How about that.

The EU is already a four-continent institution; the French DOMs, Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries are EU territory. It’s reasonable to ask where Europe stops, but the EU already transcends purely geographic boundaries, so “the border of the continent of Europe” isn’t a good answer. The natural boundary may turn out to be the Sahara rather than the Mediterranean, given the degree to which the countries in the Med basin are being integrated into the European economy and political institutions.

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mc 07.01.04 at 8:28 am

“The EU is already a four-continent institution; the French DOMs, Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries are EU territory”

Because they _are_ part of France and Spain, Jonathan. They _are_ French and Spanish territory and have been for ages, and as a consequence they’re part of the EU because France and Spain are. Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, etc. are _not_ Spanish or French or German or British territory.

Surely you can see the impossibility of making that comparison?

Also, Europe is not defined in terms of how many European elements, whatever we want that to mean, a nation has. Because you might as well find nations in Asia and Latin America that are even more “European” than Morocco or Israel. Why not have Argentina in?

And why “Western”, besides? It’s European Union, not Western Union. Otherwise the US would be in it before Turkey is. The term “European” is already often used in a very vague sense, “Western” is even more arbitrary, but though the “West” may be an entirely relative concept, Europe is not.

Just because _you_ don’t know what Europe is, doesn’t mean it’s as arbitrary as you’d like to picture it. It does have very much to do with geography, history, culture, politics, all those things together. Even if it’s not a nation but a Union, it has a history, and it is _European_. Which means Morocco, Lybia, Egypt and Israel are equally no part of it. On Turkey it may definitely be a more ambivalent matter, but even supporting Turkey entry does not require supporting ridiculous levels of enlargement.

Also, like Tomas Dent says, “The EU is not the only way to achieve cooperation between countries”. No one is telling Turkey or any other country whose entry is even more hypothetical to “get lost” at all. In fact, like several countries outside the EU it also receives direct EU funding in many areas. Inclusion in the Union is just completely different from having cooperation agreements or development partnerships of an economic, political or even military nature.

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Doug 07.01.04 at 9:33 am

mc, the EU has been about smart geopolitics ever since the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community. Nationalist competition for coal and steel was one of the things that the EU’s forerunners’ founders believed kept bringing European states to blows. Pooling sovereignty on such matter was smart geopolitics, mid-1950s style.

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mc 07.01.04 at 12:46 pm

doug: but the point is that geopolitical strategies and interests involving countries outside of Europe are no sufficient reason to argue for their entry in the EU.

Even in the case of Turkey. There has to be, and there is actually, a case for inclusion that goes beyond the “smart geopolitical move” notion. It has to be primarily about culture and history, because the EU is not simply a geopolitical strategy or economic treaty. And those things can still occur even without inclusion.

It’s self-evident really.

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Jonathan Edelstein 07.01.04 at 10:47 pm

Because they are part of France and Spain, Jonathan. They are French and Spanish territory and have been for ages, and as a consequence they’re part of the EU because France and Spain are.

But isn’t the end goal of the EU the formation of a European federal state? If so, then how would an overseas adjunct of France or Spain ultimately differ from an overseas adjunct of Europe in general? Is there any rational basis, for instance, to say that Ceuta and Melilla are inherently more European than the rest of Morocco?

The idea of Europe is by no means a constant one, even in recent history. It wasn’t very long ago that Algeria was an integral part of France and contained a million colons who thought themselves as French as any Parisian. Had history proceeded differently, Algeria might be part of the EU today.

Other outliers, like Israel and Turkey, have participated in European institutions to varying degrees for decades (which is the difference between them and countries like Argentina). Given the flexibility with which “Europe” has been defined in the past, I’d be wary of ruling out a scenario in which the concept expands to include the outliers.

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q 07.02.04 at 12:10 am

_But isn’t the end goal of the EU the formation of a European federal state?_

Ha! Most amusing. Who knows what the “end goal” is?

A long time ago it was to build bridges after the war between France and Germany to avoid future power struggles. For a while it appeared to be handouts and subsidies for farmers.

If ONLY we can decide the end goal of the EU…

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